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1999-2000 Season

Opera Etiquette

... or What am I supposed to do when I am at the opera?


Many people like to dress up when they go to the opera - it is considered part of the fun. These days you can pretty much wear what you want, although most people still enjoy the glamour aspect.

Be on Time

If you are late the ushers may let you in after the overture (if there is one); otherwise you may miss the entire first act!

During the Performance

Please remain quiet from the time the orchestra starts so that everyone around can enjoy the music. Don't open candy or gum wrappers, talk, use your cell phone, etc. Please be sure to turn off your pager, watch alarm, and cell phone when you go into the theater. There is plenty of opportunity to chat with people during intermission.

Please do not sing along, try to read your program, or get up and move around during the performance - this is really distracting to the other people who are there!


Feel free to applaud after the orchestra finishes the overture, and also after big arias and at the end of acts. If you are not sure where to applaud, discretion is the better part of valor. You can always follow the lead of other audience members.

Opera singers very often come out in front of the curtain between acts to take a bow. They will also take a bow at the end of the show. The chorus will take a bow either at the end of the show or after the last scene in which they appear. There is a special way to acknowledge exceptional performances by opera singers when they come out on stage for bows.


Bravo is the Italian word for expressing appreciation to a male performer.


Brava is the Italian word for expressing appreciation to a female performer.


Bravi is the Italian word for expressing appreciation to two or more performers.

Enjoy the Show!!

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